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Build A Dream Team For Your Startup

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startup team

Building a great start-up team is the biggest challenge for an entrepreneur. No matter how great your idea, its success or failure depends on the team which executes it. It is essential that you choose your team carefully and selectively. The first few members of the team along with the founders are critical in shaping the future of the start-up. This initial team would be instrumental in hiring further co-workers as the business grows. So, how do you build a startup team? Here are some steps to build a dream team for your new venture:

Identify the roles

Founders are the most important members of the team. They have to mutually agree on the decision-making process. So for example, if one is an expert in marketing and other in technology, then the structure of the startup can be determined accordingly. Once that has been settled, the next step is to identify the roles which you need to fill up to complete your team. So whether it is for PR, social media, or SEO, you need to decide mutually and hire the right talent. It is essential to hire the required talent according to your priorities, because there is no point hiring two project managers when there is a need for one programmer. Also keep in mind that you will have to pay them lucrative salaries in order to attract the best talent to the startup ecosystem.

Full timers’ vs Contractors

Hiring a full-time employee is a commitment which you make to pay that person irrespective of the work, whereas contractual employees are paid according to the work done. Contractual employees can be converted as full-timers as and when there is a need. You need to have a vision and hire accordingly. You should have the ability to forecast demand and match the supply.

Identifying the candidates

This is the most challenging step when building an ideal team. While identifying the candidate, one should ensure that the candidate has an experience in the field that other team members do not. It is always beneficial to hire a candidate who has been referred by someone known to you.  Apart from that, the most important factor while hiring is the candidate should be willing to work in a fast paced startup ecosystem and should believe in your start up business.

Hiring process

Once the candidates are identified, the process of hiring begins. The hiring process starts with an interview. It is always beneficial to be prepared in advance when you are about to conduct an interview. Keep your questions ready in categories such as creative thinking, problem-solving, fact checking, and behavioral. Post interview, if you find the candidate eligible, do a background check and then hire the employee.

Post-hire

The process of team building does not end when the candidate is hired, it goes beyond that. A post hire assessment needs to be done with the employee. This includes developing methods for training, path for career development and promotions. All these will serve as an incentive for your employees.

 

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Business

Scooterboard By InMotion Adds An Edge To Rideables

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scooterboard

After almost 3 years of product development and testing, the Scooterboard by InMotion has entered production, thanks to an impressive Kickstarter campaign where they were able to reach their funding goal in a mere 48 hours. The Scooterboard is a cross between a scooter and a skateboard, and the resulting product is a lightweight, front-axle steering rideable that is both easy to learn, is safe, and is sporty. Here is everything you need to know about Scooterboard.

scooterboard

The Scoop on InMotion:

The Scooterboard is the brain child of CEO Rose Wang, founder of InMotion, a company based out of San Diego, CA (You can read her full interview with Owner’s Magazine here). Formed in 2014, InMotion has been testing multiple prototypes and gathering user info from people all over the country, using that to tweak each iteration into what is being produced today. Thus, the Scooterboard is a product that is based solely on user feedback, merged into the creative idea that InMotion had. After three years of testing and re-testing, the final result is this unique rideable that caters to just about everyone.

Specifications

The Scooterboard weighs about 22 lbs, can carry up to 264.55 lbs, and has a top speed of 15.5 MPH, which it accomplishes through its 250w electric motorized rear wheel. It runs on a rechargeable, interchangeable lithium battery mounted on the undercarriage of the Scooterboard’s rider platform. Charging time is around 2.5 hours, which will grant its user about 7.5 miles of driving range. The included charger is equipped with an intelligent over-discharging system, which will cut off the power supply once the battery is full. The Scooterboard also has regenerative braking, a useful feature that pioneered the way for Hybrid Technology to be successful and gain traction (get it) in the motorized vehicle industry. How it works is that braking will generate kinetic energy, which will then be stored and reused as battery life.

There are two driving modes for the Scooterboard: Casual, and Power each of which changes riding experience drastically. Casual Mode keeps the motor quiet, the speeds smooth climbing and the brakes soft. It’s a mode for the leisurely rider to cruise easily. Power Mode is a different beast: Engine noise is heightened, acceleration is faster, and the brakes are firmer. Late to work? For a date? Want to feel more wind under the raw open-air of electric rideables? Use Power Mode.

scooterboard

scooterboard

Ergonomics

At first glance, the Scooterboard looks exactly like a spruced up, aggressive scooter, but that’s exactly what it isn’t. The Scooterboard sports three wheels instead of two, thanks to a front-axle, fork mounted steering system. The standing platform is sandpaper textured to avoid slipping in dry and wet weather, and gives the user a firm, planted feel when riding. On the single, ergonomic handlebar, there are two switches for acceleration and braking. Both are conveniently located right next to each other, but are situated where the thumb controls the brake, whereas the index finger controls the acceleration. Both are pressure sensitive, similar to the pedals on a car, or the handlebars on a motorcycle. There is also a mechanical brake in the rear wheel. Step on the rear wheel cover plate to brake via a small hidden brake pad. At 22 lbs, the Scooterboard is easily transportable, and the front handlebar folds down, allowing the user to carry it like a suitcase, or pull it along like a carry-on.

scooterboard

Rideability

With the unique concept of such a vehicle, rideability should be at the forefront of priorities. After all, being unique means it hasn’t been done. For a product such as the Scooterboard, rideability should be a special experience, but it should also be attractive and intuitive. The Scooterboard does just this by combining the best qualities of two popular terrains, the scooter, and the skateboard to allow its rider a fun, sporty platform that is also easy to learn (users claim it can be learned in a single session), practical, and convenient. To do this they crafted a single handle that curves like a cane right under the single handlebar. That allows for a perfectly balanced center of gravity. No other rideable on the market has employed this design, yet it works brilliantly with the Scooterboard’s ergonomics. The feet are planted sideways like a skateboard, or a snowboard (for the snowboarders, with the fork-mounted steering system, carving is possible, and encouraged), and steering is done in one of two possible ways: tilting the handlebar left or right, or by leaning the body. Leaning allows for sharp turns, and even full U-turns in small spaces, a useful feature not found in many other electric rideables. For novices, leaning to steer is a skill that takes some practice, but once attained is immeasurably helpful. For those wanting to get on the road right away, the handlebar exists to easily compensate. It is easy to use, and the mastery is almost immediate. Together, the handlebar and the lean to steer system combine to create a useful method of steering that is as useful as carving on a snowboard, without the months of learning associated with carving. It can be employed to take quick, sharp angled turns, and control speed which, on the Scooterboard, is surprisingly sharp. On a flat, level plain, the Scooterboard can hit top speed in about 4 seconds.

With the motor turned off, it can be kicked off manually. Conveniently, there is no resistance from the motor when it’s off, so users can kick off and enjoy a manually powered vehicle post shut-off.

Learnability

InMotion prides itself in the fact that its product has a very low learning curve. Users agree that through intuitive adaptation, riders can be comfortable on a Scooterboard by the end of a first session. There are a few things to get used to, however. 15.5 MPH may be drab in a car, but on a vehicle as small as a Scooterboard, the speed can be intimidating, especially for beginners. The lean-to-steer system has the biggest learning curve, there is a feeling associated with the vertigo of being close to falling that users have to overcome to fully utilize this method. But regardless, the Scooterboard can be driven any which way, however the user is most comfortable. CEO Rose Wang said herself that during conceptualization, she wanted to:

create a unique and accessible vehicle that is easy to learn and more affordable. With Scooterboard, we want to make the e-board culture more inclusive so that more people can participate in the electric vehicle movement. We want to challenge the e-board industry to innovate with inclusion in mind so it’s not just a cliché. E-boarding is a fun and awesome experience that’s good for the environment – why wouldn’t we want to get more people involved?”

The Scooterboard by InMotion is now available for pre-ordering here for $649.00 (early bird pre-orders currently receive $50 off the full retail price of $699.00). Because InMotion wanted to keep prices low, they will be working closely with distributors and retailers. There are currently two colorways available: the one found on the final tested prototype of a sleek black and blue, or the more enigmatic, bold black and green.

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Business

Succeed As A Veteran Owned Business

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Starting and maintaining a business may be hard work, but can be made easier with the right network. Having the right support and connections may be the thin line between success and failure. If you’re a veteran entrepreneur with a business idea, you can receive funding to help bring those ideas to life. We will explain the steps to succeed as a veteran owned business.

Find Out If You Qualify

If you have previously served in the military and/or have an injury-related disability, you may be eligible for government contracting and additional funding. In order to receive this certification, the individual must own at least 51 percent of the company that they are applying for, and manage the day-to-day operations of the business. There is also a procedure that you’ll need to follow in order to prove your veteran and/or disabled status. In order to prove veteran status you will need to provide a Department of Defense Form (DD214). If you are applying as a service-disabled veteran, you will need to get a letter from the US Department of Veteran Affairs proving that you are actually disabled. In many cases, if you are not interested in securing government contracts for your veteran owned business, these steps are not necessary.

Register with The VA

Another crucial step in the qualification process is to register through the VA or Veterans Affairs. Registering will not only assist with the strategic marketing of your business but will also add a legitimacy factor in being known as a veteran owned business. People are generally supportive of service men and women and want to support your endeavors, so proudly promoting that you have a veteran owned business will add to growth. The VetBiz Registry, which acts as a business database is the first step in registering with the VA. You will need to have your DD214, letter of disability status, tax forms, bank statements, business license, any partner agreements, and some other additional documents may be requested at the discretion of the VA.

Utilize the SDVOSBC

The Veterans Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development Act was created in 1999. The goal of this act is to generate over $15 billion of contracting dollars for businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. Being that some veterans return from duty with disabilities stemming from conflict, this program sets aside a certain amount of contracts to service them first. As long as you are considered disabled from service no matter your rating, you are eligible to securing a contract. However, if you do have a 100 percent disability rating the government has contingencies in place to allow a spouse or caregiver to run the business in place of the veteran. It’s very convenient and an amazing opportunity for vets who have served to be able to get their ideas out no matter their status.

Marketing Your Veteran Owned Business

Veterans are normally praised and promoted for their service in the armed forces, but the magnitude of entrepreneurship in this demographic is overlooked. According to Forbes, there are over 3 million Veteran owned businesses run in the United States, 5.7 million people are employed by Veterans, and Veterans are twice as likely to own a business than non-vets. These statistics show that there is a strong thread between the personalities of veterans and the interest in entrepreneurship. Strength, discipline, and leadership are all valuable traits to possess in business. Registering your business with BuyVeteran.com can also be a great resource to use for promotional items. When you register you will receive badges to display throughout your business/store, along with apparel (T-Shirts, Hats), Magnets, and other marketing items. Using the local media in your community, as well as social media, can help with promotion. Using your veteran status to appeal to an audience who already has admiration and respect for you will surely render growth.

Know Everything About Your Industry

If your chosen business field is completely out of your realm of knowledge be sure to research as much as possible before requesting support/investors. You should be an expert on your business idea as well as having a solid business plan ready to execute. Doing research includes finding out who your target audience is, how to price your products/services, who your competitors are, and what laws are in place in that industry. Will you need a license to provide certain services? How does paying taxes change for a business owner as opposed to an employee? These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered before you move forward with the business. Once you have completed all these steps you are ready to take on the world as a Vetrepreneur! Good luck!

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Keep Me Posted Web Series: Effects Of Technology

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In a society where people have gone mobile and family and friends are separated, it is encouraged to use the power of technology to stay in touch. In the new web series by Hillary Berkowitz Nussbaum, the Keep Me Posted web series is a story to explain the effects of texting and social media on our personal relationships, from the perspective of three separated friends. The series feature a strong and diverse female trio, along with an all-female team in the making of the production. The co-producers are inspiring millennials behind Pitch Her Productions, a non-profit production company committed to advancing women in film and media.

Technology has personalized it’s way into our lives in allowing us to connect through photos, videos, and text. The application of technology to create and maintain relationships between people have become its main source of usage. In 2015, 76% of adults online used some resource of social networking sites. In Keep Me Posted web series, the female friends use these devices in order to stay together. The web series connects with all of us, seeing that the relation is heavy in this story. We all use technology for some form of connection, the Keep Me Posted web series is focusing on that value. 

keep me posted web series

For women in film and media as well as modern consumers of technology, Hillary Berkowitz Nussbaum explains more about the Keep Me Posted web series:

What is Keep Me Posted?

Keep Me Posted is a three-part web series that takes a biting look at the impact of texting and social media on our closest friendships.

What is Keep Me Posted emphasizing?

The series highlights the gap between the frequency of our communication and the quality of it – even if we’re constantly talking to our closest friends, we’re not always connecting with them. Sometimes it’s easier to skirt around difficult subjects than to discuss them, and that can be damaging to a friendship.

Who is Keep Me Posted mainly targeted for?

The prominence of texting and social media definitely skew to a more Millennial audience, but the series’ other themes – familial expectations, depression, friendship growing pains – still resonate with those who didn’t grow up with smartphones.

What is Keep Me Posted goal and mission?

We want to tell a grounded, honest story in an entertaining way, and to spark some important conversations about depression, self-doubt, and communication. We also want to highlight the skill and dedication of our incredibly talented cast and crew!

Why a story on cell phones?

They’re everywhere! Originally, cell phones were just going to be part of the series – a way to accurately represent the way people in their mid-20s interact with each other. But as I developed the concept for the series, the phone’s kind of took over, and I ran with it. Nearly everyone I know has a story of a friendship damaged by texting or social media. Some stories are extreme, others superficial and silly, but all made me realize just how much those things influence the way we relate to each other.

Why choose the series to be a comedy?

Life’s little absurdities are inherently comedic, and this story is one that really lives in those small moments.

How does Keep Me Posted fit into society today?

It’s an honest look at the way we live now, the way we interact. We know that Facebook friends aren’t necessarily real friends, it’s no secret that celebrities and influencers carefully curate their online presence. But I haven’t seen much that touches on the way actual friends relate via texting and social media, and I wanted to explore that dynamic onscreen.

Who can relate to this story?

Anyone who’s ever used a smartphone! But seriously, I think most people can relate to the impulse to be a little bit extra-chipper in a text message, or to post a photo that makes a situation look better than it is. We all have things we’re struggling with, and it’s so easy to hide those struggles behind a screen.

Will this motivate or influence others? How?

I hope so! I want the series to remind everyone that even though we may want our social media presence to be impeccable, we still need to be honest and vulnerable with those closest to us. I hope it inspires people to speak up about whatever it is they’re struggling with. And I hope it motivates people to create their own work, to tell the stories that are important to them.

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